COUNTY NEWS: Longer days for highway crews; new water lines

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Highway workers doing 10-hour days in summer

The Brown County Highway Department has been working overtime to get caught up on summer work — and they’re happy to do so since they didn’t get that overtime during the mild winter, Superintendent Mike Magner told the county commissioners.

Last week the commissioners formally approved the work arrangement Magner’s crew has been trying for about a month now. They’ve been coming in around 6:30 a.m. and leaving around 5, Magner said.

Working longer days means they can get their travel-to, setup, lunch and cleanup time in along with a solid day of actual work, he said.

Productivity has “gone way up,” Magner told the commissioners. Those two extra hours on the work day meant two more miles of mowing.

Generally, they’re working four, 10-hour days, with Friday as an 8-hour day as needed, Magner said. Any hours over 40 for the week are paid as overtime. It’s already in the highway department’s budget because that overtime money wasn’t used during the winter, he said.

Spring rains and storms also have wreaked havoc on the work list, as a lot of time the department would spend on ditching and mowing, it’s had to spend on tree cleanup. So the extra work hours are also welcome in that regard, Magner said.

Fairgrounds getting some new water lines

With about a month left before any fair activities start, the activity you may be seeing at the fairgrounds is likely related to water lines.

A contractor has bored a new line path underground so water usage can be separated among the buildings that are used year-round and the ones that aren’t, commissioner Diana Biddle said last week.

She said the current water line setup is “beyond fixing” because it’s so prone to leaks. One leak last year took three months to find and the meter kept running, charging the whole time.

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Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.